BLACK AND WHITE

THE WAY I SEE IT

A tennis coach’s up-by-the-bootstraps memoir about his life and the impact his upbringing had in shaping his tennis superstar daughters Venus and Serena Williams. The book was co-authored by Davis (The Woman Who Can't Forget, 2009, etc.).

The author grew up the son of a single mother and an absentee father with “a terrible reputation for living off women and having babies all over” his then-segregated hometown of Shreveport, La. His mother taught him the importance of remaining peaceful and tolerant in the face of discrimination. But Williams openly questioned the too-accepting attitudes he saw in the African-American community and became an angry, rebellious teenager who learned how to make a profit out of goods he stole from whites. Seeking to escape the violence and racism he saw around him, Williams traveled to Chicago. He continued to prosper but also saw that even successful blacks were resigned to the fact that they “could never have as much as white people.” His next destination was Southern California, where he finally found the opportunities he needed to develop his formidable skills as a businessman and entrepreneur. When Williams accidentally discovered how profitable tennis could be as a profession, he decided to not only learn the game, but also teach it to the unborn daughters he believed would one day be at “the forefront of a white-dominated game.” He read books, talked to experts, watched videos and played in the broken-down courts of South Central Los Angeles. Others scoffed at his plans, which included moving his family from Long Beach to the ghettos of Compton to toughen up the two daughters he eventually had. Williams had the last laugh when both girls went on to become two of the most winning and respected tennis players in the world. Inspiring and tough-minded, Williams’ book is above all a celebration of one man’s resilient, unorthodox spirit.

Upfront and unapologetic.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0420-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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